Amoxicillin vs. Ceftin: What’s the difference?
- Amoxicillin and Ceftin (cefuroxime) are antibiotics used to treat bacterial infections of the middle ear, tonsils, throat, larynx (laryngitis), bronchi (bronchitis), lungs (pneumonia), urinary tract, and skin. Amoxicillin and Ceftin are also used to treat gonorrhea.
- Brand names of amoxicillin include Moxatag and Amoxil.
- Amoxicillin and Ceftin are different types of antibiotics. Amoxicillin is a penicillin-type antibiotic and Ceftin is a cephalosporin antibiotic, chemically similar to penicillin.
- Side effects of amoxicillin and Ceftin that are similar include diarrhea, abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, rash, and allergic reactions.
- Side effects of amoxicillin that are different from Ceftin include dizziness, heartburn, sleep problems (insomnia), itching, confusion, easy bruising, and bleeding.
- Side effects of Ceftin that are different from amoxicillin include headache, hives, vaginitis, mouth ulcers, severe skin reactions, anemia, and seizures.
What is amoxicillin? What is Ceftin?
Amoxicillin is a penicillin-type antibiotic, part of the drug class that also includes ampicillin (Unasyn), piperacillin (Pipracil), and ticarcillin (Ticar). Penicillin-type antibiotics do not directly kill bacteria, but they prevent bacteria from multiplying by stopping the bacteria from forming the walls that surround them that are necessary to protect them from their environment, and that keep the contents of the bacterial cell together. Amoxicillin is used to treat infections caused by many different bacteria such as H. influenzae, N. gonorrhoea, E. coli, Pneumococci, Streptococci, and certain strains of Staphylococci. Amoxicillin is used to treat bacterial infections of the middle ear, tonsils, throat, larynx (laryngitis), bronchi (bronchitis), lungs (pneumonia), urinary tract, and skin. Amoxicillin is also used to treat gonorrhea.
Ceftin (cefuroxime) is a cephalosporin antibiotic, chemically similar to penicillin used to treat bacterial infections of the middle ear, tonsils, throat, laryngitis, bronchitis, pneumonia, urinary tract, and gonorrhea. Ceftin works by stopping or slowing the growth of bacterial cells by preventing bacteria from forming the cell wall that surrounds each cell. The cell wall protects bacteria from the external environment and keeps the contents of the cell together. Without a cell wall, bacteria are not able to survive. Ceftin is effective against a wide variety of bacteria, such as Staphylococcus aureus, Streptococcus pneumoniae, Haemophilus influenzae, E. coli, N. gonorrhea, and many others.
What are the side effects of amoxicillin and Ceftin?
Side effects due to amoxicillin include
- abdominal pain,
- easy bruising,
- rash, and
- allergic reactions.
People who are allergic to the cephalosporin class of antibiotics, which are related to the penicillins, for example, cefaclor (Ceclor), cephalexin (Keflex), and cefprozil (Cefzil), may or may not be allergic to penicillins.
Serious but rare reactions include:
Amoxicillin can alter the normal bacteria in the colon and encourage overgrowth of some bacteria such as Clostridium difficile which causes inflammation of the colon (pseudomembranous colitis). Patients who develop signs of pseudomembranous colitis after starting amoxicillin (diarrhea, fever, abdominal pain, and possibly shock) should contact their physician immediately.
Cefuroxime is generally well tolerated, and side effects are usually transient. Commonly reported side effects are:
Other important side effects include:
- Allergic reactions,
- severe skin reactions,
- anemia, and
Since cefuroxime is chemically related to penicillin, patients allergic to penicillin may develop an allergic reaction (sometimes even anaphylaxis) to cefuroxime. Cefuroxime like other antibiotics can alter the colon’s normal bacteria, leading to overgrowth of a bacterium called Clostridium difficile. Overgrowth of this bacterium leads to the release of toxins that contribute to the development of Clostridium difficile-associated diarrhea, which may range in severity from mild diarrhea to fatal pseudomembranous colitis.
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What is the dosage of amoxicillin vs. Ceftin?
- For most infections in adults the dose of amoxicillin is 250 mg every 8 hours, 500 mg every 8 hours, 500 mg every 12 hours or 875 mg every 12 hours, depending on the type and severity of infection.
- For the treatment of adults with gonorrhea, the dose is 3 g given as one dose.
- For most infections, children older than 3 months but less than 40 kg are treated with 25 or 45 mg/kg/day in divided doses every 12 hours or 20 or 40 mg/kg/day with one-third of the daily dose given every 8 hours depending on the type and severity of the infection.
- Amoxicillin can be taken with or without food.
- Typical adult oral doses are 250 or 500 mg twice daily for 7-20 days depending on the type and severity of the infection. A single 1000 mg dose may used for uncomplicated gonorrhea. The tablets and suspension are not interchangeable.
What drugs interact with amoxicillin and Ceftin?
Amoxicillin is rarely associated with important drug interactions.
Probenecid increases the concentration of cefuroxime in the blood. Drugs that reduce acidity in the stomach (for example, antacids, H2-blockers, proton pump inhibitors) may reduce absorption of cefuroxime.
Are amoxicillin and Ceftin safe to use while pregnant or breastfeeding?
- Penicillins are generally considered safe for use by pregnant women who are not allergic to penicillin.
- Small amounts of amoxicillin may be excreted in breast milk and may cause diarrhea or allergic responses in nursing infants. Amoxicillin is generally considered safe to use while breastfeeding. Amoxicillin is used to treat infections in the newborn.
- Cephalosporins are usually considered safe for use during pregnancy.
- Cefuroxime is excreted in breast milk and may cause adverse effects in the infant. Cefuroxime is approved for pediatric patients 3 months and older.
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Medically Reviewed on 5/29/2019
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